It was a serious blunder on the part of the emergency coalition to have in any way believed that the imperialist bourgeoisie would not almost instantaneously recognize their action as an attempt to overthrow the Gorbachev-Yeltsin coalition. No amount of reassurance that they would retain the so-called market economy and confine themselves to maintaining social order, fight crime, etc., could possibly have impressed the bankers and industrialists of Western imperialism, least of all the Pentagon. These vague assurances would only confuse the masses, not the bourgeoisie.
It is easy to level attacks against the emergency committee for the previous record some of them had of support for the Gorbachev program. Whatever mistakes they may have made in organization, timing and so on are of minor significance. Even Blanqui himself, who was a master tactician, made many errors.
What is of decisive significance in this case is not to have realized that a cold takeover of the state apparatus and deposing Gorbachev and Yeltsin would enrage the imperialist bourgeoisie. In the final analysis it would impel the bourgeoisie toward extreme adventurism, unless there was solid mass support for the coup from the beginning. This in turn means that the coup had to be carried out either simultaneously with or immediately following a mass insurrection.
A naked military move, without the awareness of the masses, without organizing and propagandizing for it openly in the way the Bolsheviks did, would leave them open for defeat.
– Sam Marcy, “Gorbachev, Yeltsin back in with imperialist help,” Aug. 21, 1991